Rumsfeld's War on Sanity

According to our beloved Defense Secretary, those who question anything about the supposed war on terror are appeasing the terrorists in much the same way that leaders appeased Hitler before WWII.

It's certainly not a new technique for this group, but this rhetoric really shows a level of desperation that will test the fortitude of the American electorate. It has worked in the past, but I can only hope that we have reached a point where it rings hollow to enough voters to render it ineffective.

There are a couple of things that stick out in this latest craziness. First, we are supposed to just trust these people, because they know things that we don't, and they know what is best for us. Can't get much more condescending than that. Apparently the people who were wrong so many times before know what is best, and should not be questioned.

But, the most disturbing aspect is this surge in rhetoric recalling the fascist period of the 20th century. They are trying to gain a moral standing by comparing themselves to those fighting fascism in Europe during the '30s and '40s. The comparison is certainly weak, but that is not what concerns me. The real sad thing is that it presents a never-ending supply of enemies. It makes it possible to demonize any country or organization that does not support the American military-economic machine.

Reagan used similar rhetoric in the '80s to support the Contras against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. He called out anyone who did not fully support the Contras as not understanding the seriousness of the Communist threat to the US. Of course, the Sandinistas were not harboring any imperial ambitions towards the behemoth to the north, but that little piece of reality hardly mattered. So, we see this idea of labeling those who do not support a policy as appeasers or of being ignorant of the threat.

A full scale invasion of a small Central American country 20 some years ago would hardly have won much support from the American public. But, the Bush administration has the benefit of the World Trade Center attacks to win support. People are scared. There was an attack on this country. It's a situation that Reagan could have only dreamed of.

This is why rhetoric like this cannot be allowed to prevail. Do we want a permanent state of war? What kind of life would that be for our "free" society? It needs to be demonstrated that the war in Iraq was not a mistake because it hasn't gone well. It was a mistake because it was the wrong thing to do. Even if it had gone smoothly, it would not have been any more justified.

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